Editor’s note: From the Inside The Pew archives; run date July 20, 2009.
By Jennifer Paul
Inside The Pew
DALLAS – How important is the role of a Christ-centered family in the life of a child? One Dallas-based ministry believes it is essential.
“(Family) was the first institution created by God,” said Rob Pine, executive director of ChristianWorks for Children, a
non-profit organization dedicated to assisting families in times of trouble. “The first relationship He created was marriage; the second relationship was the parent-child relationship. How can it not be important? It is the relationship upon which all other relationships have been built.”
Pine and his staff of licensed counselors and trained volunteers who regularly serve at ChristianWorks, passionately believe that a healthy, Christ-centered family is vital for the well being of all children, their parents, and the community as a whole.
ChristianWorks for Children has faithfully served Dallas and the surrounding area for 42 years. It began as a ministry of the churches of Christ in an attempt to provide pregnant women with maternity homes and adoption services. In the mid ‘90s, ChristianWorks expanded its program to include counseling services. This addition was “driven by a desire to help keep families together” and to “help parents help their children” by providing Christian guidance, Pine said. The ministry has grown significantly, and the counselors at ChristianWorks currently minister to families from all over the Metroplex.
In 2000, the need was noticed for a grief ministry for children.
“Everywhere we turned,” Pine said, “there was grief support for adults who were grieving the death of someone, but there wasn’t a children’s program anywhere in Dallas County.”
This prompted ChristianWorks to design Dallas GriefWorks for Kids. Beginning with only one child, GriefWorks currently serves 39 families.
The three ministries of ChristianWorks for Children (AdoptionWorks, CounselingWorks, and GriefWorks) were all established for the same purpose.
“We want children and families to know that God is there for them,” Pine said. “No matter what they are going through, no matter the circumstance, situation, or tragedy… and (we want them to know) that there are people who care.”
CounselingWorks offers professional counseling for individuals, couples, and families on a sliding scale based on family income. It also provides churches and organizations with the opportunity to join the church and corporation sponsorship program, which allows for members of those churches and organizations to receive counseling for $20 a session.
GriefWorks is a free program which offers help and support to children ages 5-18 who are suffering the loss of a loved one. Groups meet bi-weekly, and after enjoying a free meal provided by local volunteers, children split up into age groups to learn about and discuss a new aspect of grief each session.
Larry Barbar is director of CounselingWorks and GriefWorks.
The goal of AdoptionWorks is simple, Pine said.
“If there is a child who needs a family, our objective is to find that child a Christian family any way we can. That birth mom needs to know that God cares about her and cares about that baby,” Pine said. “That baby doesn’t have a voice, so somebody’s got to watch out for it and speak for it. And as a licensed adoption agency in the state of Texas, we are responsible for that child once the birth mother says, ‘yes.’”
But there is no doubt that the ministries of ChristianWorks are effective.
“What we do has long-reaching effects, into many generations, which change the face of eternity, change lives for eternity,” Pine said.
How to get involved: To take advantage of the services of ChristianWorks, join the church and corporation sponsorship program, call Kristina at (972) 960-9981 or visit www.christian-works.org.